Not a word on science and society from Willetts… rest my case

A major speech by Science Minister, David Willetts, about science and not a word about ‘Science and Society’ or the importance of the public.

I am pleased that the Minister recognises the importance of ensuring science articles are in the public domain and not behind a pay wall but it’s curious there seems no public involvement in the inquiry being led by Dame Janet Finch.

How long can the Government continue living in a box before UK science unravels completely?

George Osborne MP, pictured speaking on the la...

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There is an article in today’s Times Higher Education (THES) about a report from Science is Vital campaign on the current crisis in the career structure for scientists entitled: Careering Out of Control: A Crisis in the UK Science Profession?  You can also read more on the Guardian blog

Looking through a wider lense still, I see that Mark Henderson has written an excellent piece in the latest issue of The Times Eureka magazine about how UK scientists and organisations won the battle with last year’s comprehensive spending review result but not the war.  Not least because, as the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) has reported the cuts to science will be much greater than expected not least because of the higher than expected rate of inflation.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said at the Conservative Party Conference as he announced a bunch of tinderstick intiatives in science, that he wants the UK to produce the greatest scientists .  And yesterday the Prime Minister, David Cameron, implored us to believe that we can fight our way out of the current turmoils. 

Yet, with the science funding picture as it is and the Government dogmatically sticking to its mantra  it is difficult to see us fighting our way out of a cardboard box at the moment, let alone create the best and the brightest scientists.

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I found myself deeply moved by the news and growing tributes rightly being paid around the world this morning to Steve Jobs following his death from pancreatic cancer. Whether as innovator, designer or consumer champion he has been a hero to many including myself.

When I got to work I trawled through some of Steve Jobs quotes on the web to remind myself of why and how he was different. These two struck me:

A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets.

And this too:

Quality is more important than quantity.  One home run is much better than two doubles.